Do you want longer drone range?
Drones with a small range can often be a pain in the ass, am I right?. Well, I am glad to say that I’ve got some good news for you!
You can increase range even if you don’t have any technical knowledge or DIY experience.
I am going to explain the best methods for boosting your drone’s range in just a minute. But first, let’s talk about how far drones can fly.
Currently, the DJI Mavic Pro 2 and Mavic 2 Zoom have the longest range at about 8 km (5 miles) which should be more than enough for anyone.
However, most drones do not have such an ideal range. Some can only go as far as a few hundred meters before the signals are completely lost.
There are a good number of drones having only one shortcoming which is a short range. The DJI Phantom 3 is an excellent example of a drone that has it all save for the range. It can only go as far as 1 km — which is below average.
You shouldn’t worry though as you can boost the signals of your drone by using some simple and effective methods. There are essentially two common ways as mentioned below.
1. Signal Boosters
After reading this section, you’ll know the answer to the following questions:
● What are signal boosters?
● Can signal boosters significantly increase the range or do they only make a small difference?
● How do they work?
● Are they worth the money?
● What are some of the best signal boosters?
“A device that boosts a communications signal to reach a greater distance.”
The name pretty much describes the working of the product as it extends the range of signals transmitted from the controller to the receiver on your drone.
How Effective Are They?
Signal boosters can significantly improve the range of the signals being transmitted from your controller. They are very effective and can even increase the range by over 10x for some specific drones.
The effectiveness of a signal booster is depended upon its quality. Basically, there are two common frequencies used for drones which are 2.4 GHz and 1.2 GHz.
Using the 2.4 GHz frequency is probably the better option of the two as it is legal in most states. The 1.2 GHz frequency, on the other hand, might be illegal in your state. You should check out the legal consequences in your area.
As far as the range is concerned, the 1.2 GHz frequency is far superior at a maximum range of 10 km. The 2.4 GHz frequency is usually limited to 1 km or so.
As you can see for yourself, a signal booster can be quite effective depending upon your usage.
A signal booster pulls in weak signals and boosts them before retransmitting to the required direction.
Signal boosters aren’t expensive at all so I would say in case of a short-range drone they’re probably going to be worth it. But for a drone that already has a long range, let’s say 7 km, they’re probably not going to help a lot.
The following are the two signal boosters (applicable to most drones) that I recommend:
● BlueProton DJI Phantom WiFi Signal Range Extender
● SKYREAT Copper Parabolic Antenna Range Booster
2. DIY Long Range Drones
Keep in mind that building a drone by yourself is no piece of cake. It’s best suited for DIY project lovers and people who have some basic knowledge about the technicality of drones.
Following are the things that I am about to discuss:
● How hard is it to build a drone?
● Technicality of drones
● Some guides you can study.
● Ways to modify your drone.
Is it difficult to develop a drone?
Making a drone by yourself isn’t as complex as it may sound. Currently, you can buy a modular system which allows you to build a drone that fulfills all your desired needs.
If you would have asked me this same question a couple of years ago, then my answer wouldn’t have been the same. This is due to recent developments in the drone community which has made the process of building a drone a whole lot simpler than it used to be.
Technical stuff you should know.
Creating a drone by yourself isn’t too difficult if you know the basics terminologies related to drones. If you’re not familiar with the basics, then I suggest that you go ahead and read about them on this site.
Furthermore, the following is a list of the three most important things you should consider before you actually start creating your drone:
● Choosing the right frame.
● Picking the right rotors for proper propulsion (the process of lifting a drone upwards)
● Selecting the right controller
What you’ll need for modifying the range of your drone
All drones have some shortcomings, but fortunately, you can modify your drone for a better experience. All specifications of a drone can be modified, but I am just going to talk about ways to enhance the range of your drone.
Following are the three things that determine the range of your drone:
● Power of transmitter
● Types of antennas being used
So what you’ll need is a powerful transmitter (controller) with a low frequency which should be 1.2 GHz or 2.4 GHz, and you’ll also need antennas with a gain over 2 decibels. These pieces of equipment will help your drone fly as far as 5-8 km depending upon the signal interference due to obstacles along the way.
If you’ve got the equipment, then all you need to do is to attach them to your drone, and you’ll be good to go.
The Range of FPV and Wi-fi Drones
With recent developments in FPV technology and radio link, long-ranging FPV drones have become quite popular. Following are the two things that you should know about FPV drones:
● The maximum range for FPV drones is about 500 meters.
● 5.8 GHz of frequency is the best you’ll get for FPV drones.
A range of about 500 meters is more than enough for the average FPV drone user.
The range of a typical wifi antenna is about only a hundred meters. New developments and advanced antennas have made it possible to supply wifi at an insanely long range of about 5 km. However, these are probably outside the budget for most enthusiasts.